Living Life Naturally

Archive for July, 2013

Billing and Cooing!

WAHEY!!! My energy company may be billing BUT it’s ME that’s cooing!

Three months ago when I received my last gas and electric bills I was horrified to see that they intended to increase my monthly electricity direct debit. Okay so they were reducing the gas one but it was still a nasty shock.

Time to take evasive action:

  • I replaced my electric kettle with an old-fashioned whistling one for the hob. My significant other is a real tea-belly and the kettle would be going constantly throughout the day
  • I Freegled an oldish freezer that was never fully utilised. It went to a disabled lady whose own had packed up
  • I got rid of my electric alarm clock – my phone has an alarm and that does just fine
  • I use remaining hot water from the kettle to do the washing up and now only do it once a day
  • We soak our washing by hand and only use the washing machine for a fast spin

And the result?

Electricity now in credit by a whopping £58 and gas still in credit by £19. 🙂

I know we’re in the summer months but believe me I am determined to maintain progress.

Hoping I have inspired you

Lesley xx

Wasting Away…………

As I was saying in my last post I do like to live a life that impacts as little as possible on our planet.

One of my pet hates has to be the wasting of food. I feel that with so many going hungry on a daily basis in poorer countries the very least I can do is make sure that I do not waste what I am lucky enough to have.

Over the years I have become something of an expert at making meals from next to nothing! My three adult children still talk nostalgically about my ‘Sausage Surprise’ (The surprise was that there was any sausage in there at all!) Mind you, they also constantly remind me of the time I forgot to add sugar to the Apple Crumble – oh boy, did it taste awful! 😦

Anyway, I digress;

Last Sunday I purchased a cooked chicken from my local Co-operative. I must admit I bought it for two reasons; Firstly it had been reduced in price (who doesn’t love a bargain?) and secondly I really fancied some ‘real’ meat – meat has become so expensive recently that I often eat vegetarian these days.

Anyway I carved the breast meat which is the only part my significant other will eat and we had a plate of chicken and home-made chips for our tea. Scrummy!

Now I know a lot of people would just chuck the rest away but not me.

I placed the carcass, legs and wings in a stock pot with some seasoning and a few cloves of garlic, brought it to the boil and simmered for a good forty minutes.

I then removed all the meat from the bones and put it back in the cooking pot, along with the stock,  fresh parsley and some vermicelli and made a Chicken Noodle soup. Delicious 🙂

That was my supper last night along with some thickly sliced bread to dip.

Today I made some dumplings and added these to the remaining soup to make a more substantial meal.

Amazing how many meals you can make from just one chicken.

Would love to hear some of your cheap, no-waste recipes.

Till next time

Lesley xx

Delicious!

Delicious!

Going All The Way…… Naturally

I have long believed in living a ‘natural’ life – that is, using as many all-natural products as possible, eating foods without additives, recycling, upcycling, anything that is gentler on ourselves and gentler on our precious planet.

When I started SkinKiss I took the decision that as much as I wanted to emulate the gloriously coloured bath goodies I saw in places like Lush it was never going to be possible using only natural ingredients.

I do occasionally use natural food colouring  but on the whole I prefer to make my products look special with the clever use of botanicals.

Just a touch of natural food colouring

The best nights sleep you’ll ever have

This is one of my favourite SkinKiss products; A Lavender & Clary Sage Bath Fizz.

Just a hint of natural green food colouring and a few lavender buds. Pop one of          these into your evening bath and you will soon find your eyelids

drooping as you drift off to sleep. 🙂

A Sweet Orange scented Bath Bomb – no colour – just a few delicate cornflower and calendula petals and a delicious scent.

No colour, just a delicious scent and cornflower and calendula petals

No colour, just a delicious scent and cornflower and calendula petals

Another of my most popular products is my Rose heart Bath Melt. This is such a simple recipe but so very pretty.

Fragrant Skin Food

Fragrant Skin Food

So you see, you really don’t need all those damaging artificial colours and fragrances – just pure ingredients and a bit of imagination.

Hope you have enjoyed a little stroll through some of my products.

Till next time

Lesley xx

Nobody Likes A Quitter But ………………………….

Now I know that none of like a quitter but there are some things it really is worth giving up on.

I have suffered from an under active thyroid for longer than I care to remember. This condition causes a few problems for most sufferers; unremitting tiredness, lethargic metabolism, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, but for me the worst part was the weight gain. I started to feel that even if I lived on a lettuce leaf per day I would still pile on the pounds!

My age was against me too – in middle age your whole body shape seems to alter – and no matter how careful I was my weight kept creeping up. 😦

I have always tried to maintain a healthy diet but it just wasn’t having any effect on my weight. I would eye the bathroom scales in despair, convinced they must be lying to me!

Well this situation continued for several years and my weight continued to hover around the 11 stone mark which was far too heavy for a shortie like me – I am only 5′ 4″ – and it showed, in all the wrong places naturally.

Then I decided to ‘tweak’ a few things:

  • I cut my coffee intake down to just 2 cups per day
  • I started drinking only water  for the rest of the day (the cheapest bottled kind because with UAT you should avoid fluoride)
  • I reduced my weekend alcohol intake though I was never a heavyweight in that area anyway
  • I cut out ALL sugar from my diet (and that included 3 tsp per cup of coffee!)
  • I started using honey to sweeten my coffee and the occasional herbal teas

The result has seen me drop from a size 14 to a size 10/12 which for me is fairly amazing. And the best bit is that I just don’t miss sugar at all.

I am including a link here that you may find useful:

http://www.organicburst.com/community/madeleine_shaw/

Hope I have inspired you to try quitting!

Till next time

Lesley xx

Beating The Bugs Away

I think I may just have mentioned how much I enjoy walking. The scenery in this part of North Wales is SO stunning. And walking is FREE – another of my favourite things!

This weather being as glorious as it is though does tend to bring the insects out to play.

Apparently it is the temperature of your blood which attracts them and I suspect that mine must be just right!

It’s not that I begrudge them the right to eat – I just wish they wouldn’t always eat ME!

So, not to let a little thing like being someone’s favourite meal get in the way of my enjoyment I came up with a simple recipe to keep them at bay. My own insect repellent is quick and easy to make, a whole lot cheaper than anything you will find in the shops, contains no nasty chemicals, and………….. IT WORKS!

I make a large batch and then store it in a well-scoured glass bottle. I fill a perfume atomiser (found one cheaply in a discount store) and carry it with me to top up as and when I need.

Here’s the recipe if you want to make your own:

20 Drops Lemon grass Essential Oil

20 Drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

4 Fluid Ounces Water

Directions:

Combine in a  bottle and shake well then transfer what you require to an atomiser.

Spray on clothes, shoes and yourself, including hair, to repel ticks and bugs.

Hope it works for you too

Till next time

Lesley xx

Best Feet Forward!

What wonderful weather we are having at the moment – even here in (normally) wet Wales.

One of my favourite things during this type of weather is a long walk in the Gwydir Forest close to where I live in Llanrwst. My partner and I often walk right up to a small lake and sit there dangling our feet in the cool water, enjoying the sun on our backs and watching the beautiful dragonflies as they dart about their business. Last week we found a small toad, somewhat dehydrated, which we carefully returned to the water.

Trying to get to the water

Trying to get to the water

This particular walk is around  5 miles and though I have proper walking sandals, as you can imagine, by the time we get back my feet are quite hot and in need of some TLC.

So on our return I always treat my feet to a Peppermint Foot Soak from SkinKiss. Not only does it soothe the feet and soften the skin but it makes your feet smell wonderful.

TLC for tired feet

TLC for tired feet

If you would like to try this for yourself the recipe is here:

2 Parts Coarse Sea Salt

1 Part Epsom Salts

Peppermint Essential Oil – 2ml per 100g

Few Drops Natural Blue Food Colouring (optional)

Directions:

Mix salt and Epsom Salts together. Add essential oil & mix thoroughly. Add food colouring if wanted and again mix thoroughly.

Fill a bowl big enough to take both feet with hot (but not boiling) water. Add some of the salts and ‘swish’ to dissolve. Pop your feet in, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Hope you will try this – it really is a lovely treat for the feet. Oh, and great for my partner’s very smelly feet!

DIY And Enjoy!

I thought today for a change I would bring you a simple recipe you can make for yourself at home;

I can remember many moons ago buying The Vogue Book Of Natural Health & Beauty……….. How that book changed my life!

Much to my Mum’s annoyance it was not unusual for my friend Liz & I to be found mixing lotions and potions in the kitchen, in the hope of making out 14 year-old selves even more stunning!

Forty years on and I still feel that same frisson of excitement when I make a new product, impatient as ever to try it out, although these days ‘more stunning’ has been replaced by ‘not too bad’!.

Of course, I have had my disasters; the bath bar that just would not set, the many bath bombs that disintegrated when I ejected them from their moulds, the list is longer than I care to admit!

BUT I never stop trying……………

So I thought for starters maybe a face mask…………. great for brightening dull, tired skin and just generally making you feel WAHOO!

Glowing Skin Face Mask

1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder

2 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil

1/4 Teaspoon of Honey

Mix everything together. Apply to face and neck and….. RELAX!

Leave on for 15-20 minutes then wash off with lukewarm water. I usually splash cold water on my face afterwards for that wonderfully refreshed feeling.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Lesley xx